Pete Wentz with the Angels & Kings team
THE GANG’S ALL HERE Members of the Angels & Kings team, including Stephen Westman (left) and Bear booster Pete Wentz (second from right), pause on the red carpet.

At first glance, I thought the fuzzy bear hood worn by Pete Wentz at last night’s VIP reopening of Angels & Kings in the Hard Rock Hotel—view a photo gallery here—signaled either a transition out of his flat-hair phase or further proof that the fashion industry, and the faux-fur trade in particular, will be taking a truly whimsical turn for spring.

Then, about three minutes and 22 Wentz-spewed profanities into a performance by his new band, Black Cards, in the Hard Rock’s second-floor ballroom (the party later moved downstairs to Angels & Kings, which is located off the lobby), I realized this was no style statement: It was a Chicago Bears statement. Duh.

The hometown rocker and Fall Out Boy bassist Wentz, along with his team, Crush Management, developed the Angels & Kings concept in New York before opening a Chicago outpost with the local nightlife impresarios Stephen Westman (a 2009 Chicago single) and Matt Eisler (Bangers & Lace, Bar DeVille, et cetera) at 701 North Clark Street in 2008. So, why the move now to the Hard Rock? According to Westman, Chicago was still the best-performing Angels & Kings—there are also locations in L.A. and Barcelona—but “the opportunity to align ourselves with a globally recognized brand like the Hard Rock was too good to pass up. We think it’ll open a lot of doors.” And, since touring musicians often stay at the hotel, the impromptu mini-sets for which Angels & Kings has become known might even increase.

Event patrons taking an Angels & Kings 'mug shot'
THURSDAY-NIGHT LINEUP Partiers pose in front of A&K’s mug-shot wall, a feature imported from the River North location.

The new place was off to a red-carpet start last night as flashbulbs popped in the pierced faces of rock ’n’ roll glitterati who looked imported from L.A.—either that or I don’t get out to rock-lounge openings much.

The Creative Director and I dirty danced a little—What? Pineapple vodkas were on offer by the trayful!—prompting momentary interest from one photographer whose handiwork I hope never to see. “Can I get a shot of you two doing that?” he asked, aiming his camera in the direction of, I don’t know, some chins. “Um, OK,” I said, attempting to transform my hair into a face mask. We hobnobbed with the pierced ones, rubbed elbows with Wentz’s bear costume (there was little room to move, and he needed to pass us to get to his VIP booth), and chatted up a few people we knew, including one glamorous Chicago trendsetter who still manages to coolly pull off the indoor-sunglasses thing.

“What do you think?” I asked TCD as we watched a posse of bedazzled girls pose in front of the mug-shot wall, a décor element imported from A&K’s Clark Street location.

“It’s like the other place but with more upholstery,” he replied.

True, but I think I’ll make more use of this accessible incarnation than I did the River North version—and, really, a generous swag of purple velvet and a few black crystal chandeliers might be just the ticket for this part of Michigan Avenue. After all, the Mag Mile is supposed to glitter, remember?


Photography: Ray Whitehouse